We are getting deeper in to the season and we are starting to see which teams are going to be the one’s to keep an eye on, and which teams need to make some changes.
This week, we are headed to Phoenix, the next stop on the west coast swing. So let’s take a look at four things you need to know before the green flag flies.
1: Keep an eye on Kevin Harvick.
Harvick and his team have won five of the last seven races at Phoenix so it’s a pretty safe bet to stick him on your roster for your fantasy teams this weekend. The No.4 team from Stewart-Haas Racing has been strong this season and I don’t see Phoenix being any different.
2: Also keep an eye on Ty Dillon.
The younger Dillon brother will be piloting the No.14 for Stewart-Haas Racing while Tony Stewart is still recovering from his back injury. This will the the second race this season that Dillon has stepped into the shoes of the famous “Smoke.” This will be Dillon’s tenth Sprint Cup Series start, his third this season, and his second at Phoenix. His first start came back in 2014 when he was driving for his grandfather’s team, Richard Childress Racing. Dillon started 26th and finished 27th, but it was only his second start in a Sprint Cup car…
3: Each of the three manufactures have seen victories this season.
Yep. That’s right! We are three races in and each of the three manufactures have been to Victory Lane. Toyota took the first win at the Daytona 500 with Denny Hamlin. Chevrolet followed suit at Atlanta with Jimmie Johnson behind the wheel. Then last week, Ford got their first victory of 2016 with Brad Keselowski at Las Vegas. It’s safe to say that these cars are running strong this season but the big question looms…how will Stewart-Haas Racing handle the switch to Ford next year?
4: Don’t forget about the other guy!
By the “other guy,” I am referring to the other Rookie of the Year contender, Ryan Blaney. This young gun finished 6th this last weekend at Las Vegas and shows a lot of promise as the pilot of the No.21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford. While it is still early in the season, I can see Blaney making headlines more than once by the time we reach Homestead. We may just have our toughest Rookie of the Year battle yet between Blaney and Chase Elliott. Two young drivers who come from deep racing roots. These guys are definitely going to make some noise in the coming years.
And one thing we learned at Las Vegas…WIND IS A GAME-CHANGER!!!!
Last week’s race at Las Vegas was one of the windiest races in NASCAR yet. It was clear from the start that it was going to be the biggest factor throughout the race and the teams and drivers were going to have to adjust. While it may have proven difficult for some, it left race teams with a few unique experiences that they can hopefully use later in the season. It was even windy enough to cause a dust storm in the middle of the race. Definitely something you don’t see every day!
Link to the original article
We are gearing up for race number three in the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and each week, I am bringing you “4 things you need to know” before the green flag waves. This week, we head to Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Home to the Kurt and Kyle Busch, this track never ceases to bring some great on-track battles!
Along with the four things you need to know, we will take a look back at one thing we learned from the race before. So let’s get started with what you need to know before Las Vegas.
1: Kurt Busch is one to watch.
The No.41 team of Kurt Busch, led by veteran Crew Chief Tony Gibson, is on track for an impressive 2016 season. Now, I know we are only three races in to the season but Busch has already captured two pole positions; Las Vegas and Atlanta. The Stewart-Haas Racing team has had its down moments but for the most part, since its creation in 2014, the No.41 has shown immerse progress and growth. Busch made the Chase in 2015 and had a strong showing, capturing two wins last season. Busch and Gibson are a great paring and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see this pair vying for the Championship trophy at the end of the season. Keep an eye on the eldest Busch brother…I think the best is yet to come.
2: Jimmie Johnson ties Dale Earnhardt.
It’s a feat not many have accomplished. Dale Earnhardt is one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history and Jimmie Johnson, with his win at Atlanta last weekend, has tied The Intimidator in the number of race wins in a career. “Six-Time” Jimmie Johnson is no doubt one of, if not the greatest, driver of his time. It won’t be long before he surpasses Earnhardt in the number of race wins and he could very well surpass former teammate and friend Jeff Gordon before he retires. Keep an eye on Johnson this season, we could be calling “six-time” a seven-time Sprint Cup Series Champion come November.
3: Weather might be an issue.
While rain might be the devil to NASCAR fans and drivers weekend, the temperature during the race plays a big part in the way the cars handle throughout each run. This weekend, the temperature is expected to drop from the 80s on Friday to the 60s come Sunday. Along with expected wind gusts upwards of 30mph, it could mean the low downforce package will be tough to handle for a lot of drivers.
4: For the second week, there will not be a full field of drivers.
With a field of 39 for the second week in a row, the Sprint Cup Series race will not have a full 40-car field. What does this mean for NASCAR? Too soon to tell. The field number was dropped by NASCAR from a maximum of 43 drivers to 40 drivers for this season and the shortage of entries could just mean low-funded teams are waiting for the bigger races to enter their cars. It could also mean that the rising price of entry compared to the chances of making the race and the risk of coming home with a wreck racecar is too much for low-funded teams. Does a change need to be made in order to get more cars on the track? You decide.
One thing we learned at Atlanta.
Chase Elliott is going to surprise us this season. After his race was shorted in Daytona thanks to a wreck, Elliott made up for it at Atlanta. He consistently ran in the top-10 and finished an impressive 8th at the tough track. Is it too early to expect great things from this Rookie? I don’t think so. Elliott comes from a family of great racers. With Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Kasey Kahne as his teammates and mentors, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Elliott in Victory Lane this season.
Link to the original article